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What are the major credit reporting agencies?

The 2 credit bureaus — Equifax and TransUnion — explained.

Your financial stability plays a huge part in determining whether or not you’re approved for a loan or credit card application. While lenders use the information you provide in your application to determine approval, they heavily rely on your credit report.

Your credit report is held by credit reporting agencies and it’s a detailed record of your applications for credit, payment history and other borrower behavior. Find out more about the major agencies in Canada and the role they play in your credit journey in this guide.

What are the major credit reporting bureaus?

There 2 major credit reporting bureaus in Canada are:

  • Equifax. This credit bureau provides personal and business credit reports — credit alert services are also available. In 2017, Equifax suffered a cyberattack that compromised the personal information of over 2 million consumers.
  • TransUnion. Although smaller, this credit bureau offers a more extensive employment history record. Banks can use this information to verify your employment data when you apply for a loan or credit.

Each credit bureau also offers credit monitoring for a price. This type of service allows consumers to access their credit score and report, plus added protection in the form of credit alerts via email or text and the ability to place a freeze on their credit file.

How to contact the major credit bureaus

If you find any information that’s incorrect on your credit report it’s important to get in contact with the credit agency to dispute the error.

OnlinePhoneMail
Equifax1 (800) 465-7166Equifax Canada Co.
National Consumer Relations
Box 190
Montreal, QC H1S 2Z2
TransUnion1-800-565-2280TransUnion
Attention: Consumer Relations
3115 Harvester Road,
Suite 201 Burlington ON L7N3N8

What is a credit reporting agency?

A credit reporting agency, or credit bureau, constantly collects, holds and distributes consumer data from credit providers and public records that pertain to a borrower’s history — this information forms your credit report.

Your credit information can be bought by businesses or other providers who care to look further into your financial background in order to approve or deny your request for credit or services. All operations of the 2 credit bureaus are regulated federal privacy regulations and provincial/territorial protections.

How do credit reporting agencies receive my information?

Credit bureaus can receive your personal information in a number of ways:

  • From creditors and businesses. Most credit providers that you apply for an account with send information to credit reporting agencies so it can be noted on your report. Even if you’re not approved for the account it will be listed. If you are approved for the account, information such as the account open and close date, payment information and any default listings will be included.
  • Collecting data. Credit bureaus dig through government information and records or buy data from a smaller credit reporting agency to create a more detailed credit report.
  • Public information. Publicly accessible information such as court judgments and bankruptcy information is also included in your report.

It’s important to note that unless you’ve held or applied for a credit account in Canada, you probably won’t have a credit report.

Can I get a free credit report online?

Yes, you can access your free credit report from the bureaus directly. You can request it by mail, phone, fax or online. Follow the directions on the bureaus website to order your copy.

Get your credit score

You can access your credit report for free, but paid services can also give your credit score and set up monitoring so you can be automatically alerted if something out of the ordinary is happening with your credit.

Name Product Starting Price Price Per Month Credit Scores Credit Monitoring Credit Reports Update Frequency
MyMarble
$0
$0 - $29.99
TransUnion
Yes
TransUnion
Monthly
MyMarble’s AI technology gives you real-time recommendations to improve your finances. Get actionable steps to improve your finances by paying down your debt faster, adjust your budget and build your credit score. See results in just 30-45 days.
Mogo Credit Score
$0
$0
Equifax
Yes
Equifax
Monthly
Open a MogoAccount and access your credit score for free with no impact to your score. Receive your updated Equifax credit score every month.
OFFER
Credit Verify Credit Score
$1 for 7 day trial
$29.95
TransUnion
Yes
TransUnion
Monthly
Instantly access your credit score and report online and get daily alerts and updates. Plus, premium members get $25 in bonus rewards every month which can be used towards discounts on everything from shopping and entertainment to dining and travel.
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Compare up to 4 providers

The differences between credit bureaus

Each bureau receives different information from credit providers and public sources. However, as all of these wells of information are not the same and because some providers pick and choose who they report to, you’ll find that your credit report may be different when you order from each of the agencies.

This could also affect the way your credit score is calculated, especially if one bureau is missing some key information or has a mistake listed on your credit report. If you find errors on your report you can handle the corrections process yourself or seek the help of a credit repair service.

Bottom line

The 2 major credit reporting agencies in Canada operate slightly differently. That’s why when ordering your credit report from one bureau, you should have a good idea of what information is listed on the other one so you can cross reference to make sure that your credit history is accurate.

If you discover a fishy account on your credit report or see a blatant error, get it cleared up as soon as you can so you’re not negatively affected when trying to prove your creditworthiness down the road. Follow our guide to correcting errors on your credit report here.

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